Planning an office or workshop

Finding space to work or for pursuing hobbies only too often means ‘stealing’ it from your living area, and having to break off every time the family wants to eat a meal, use the computer or watch television. And working in inadequate offices or cramped surroundings often means being content with poor equipment, which leads to shoddy workmanship and can be dangerous. So wherever possible try to set aside an office for yourself, or given over entirely to hobbies such as carpentry which need plenty of space and specialist equipment.

garage home office

A home office not only alleviates these difficulties, but also provides a place where you can relax for a while away from your daily routine and the rest of the family. If you have an office which is properly fitted up, working from home will take less time and run more smoothly. An office is also a good selling point if you decide to move. Every home should have one If you are moving into a new house, then the major considerations such as bathroom fitments, kitchen layout and so on will occupy much of your time and thoughts.

But this is precisely the time to recognise the need to plan for areas which will be devoted to leisure activities such as play- or familyrooms, and workshops, particularly if you intend to do most odd jobs yourself. If you have lived in your home some time and intend to stay there, then a re-allocation of the available space may be called for, especially if your family includes keen handymen. You may be lucky enough to have a home large enough for you to set up a permanent indoor workshop. But remember that noise may be a problem. The noise you create seems far louder and more irritating to others than it does to you.

Cellars are generally the best places to install indoor workshops, as they are often large enough to be split into more than one area for separate activities, and their position underground helps to restrict the spread of noise. But they are not ideal to be converted into offices. Lofts are less suitable because they tend to become very warm in summer; many hobbies involve some physical effort, which would make working in a hot loft unbearable.

You might also have to impose a ‘curfew’ and curtail night time work there because of sleeping children. Both cellars and lofts often share the disadvantage of having an over small entrance, don’t be caught making a beautiful wall unit which won’t go through the door !

Many people transform their garage for crafts and hobbies; it is quite suitable for all types of home offices too. If there is additional car parking space on your premises, it may be worth building a separate carport and converting your garage into a permanent workshop. If you use the garage regularly for heavy carpentry or metalwork, the car tends to spend most of its time outside anyway. However, for most people a garage serves both purposes well enough.